Calls for Gordon Brown to break silence on spin doctor's revelations
GORDON Brown must publicly state that he did not know about the activities of his spin doctor Damian McBride or have his own reputation tarnished, a former Labour minister has said.
Mr McBride's account of vicious Labour in-fighting, with briefings against rival ministers as members of the Blair and Brown camp tried to knife each other, has cast a shadow over the party's conference in Brighton.
Dame Tessa Jowell, who claimed to be a victim of smears from Mr Brown's faction, said the former prime minister was "not an innocent" and it was "inconceivable" that he would have been unaware what was happening.
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday she said: "'Whitehall's ministerial code is absolutely clear - ministers are responsible for the actions of their special advisers.
"Gordon is not an innocent, it is inconceivable he did not know what Damian was doing.
"Damian clearly felt it was implicitly sanctioned."
Mr Brown should be "ashamed" of hiring Mr McBride, she said.
"In the absence of a very clear statement by Gordon that he didn't know about it, it damages his reputation," Dame Tessa said. "Only Gordon can deal with that."
She claimed to have been the victim of briefings from Mr Brown's circle after a private conversation in which she urged him to consider his position as prime minister "in the interests of the party and country".
Dame Tessa said: "The next day a version of the conversation, including my disaffection, was all over the papers. It said I was going to resign. It was nonsense and a smear, not a big one maybe, but a smear nonetheless.
She confronted Mr Brown about the briefing and said: "'Gordon we have to sort this out'. I told him briefing against me by his team was totally unacceptable and disgusting, that they were destabilising him and it was not a sign of strength but weakness. He said he didn't know about the briefing."